What calls-to-action are on your website right now? Are you missing the opportunity to engage the vast majority of your website visitors?

Most of the websites I evaluate (and that’s a LOT of websites) are beautifully designed, yes. Sadly, it looks like the ONLY acceptable actions for website visitors to take are to “book a meeting,” “request a quote,” “contact us,” or “subscribe to our blog.”

That’s a big, sad, miss.

When people visit your website, what are they trying to do? They found your site through a search, most likely, or perhaps they clicked through a social media post that appeared in their feed. They landed on your site because they’re trying to solve a problem that you might be able to help them solve. All good, right? But do you think they’re ready to book a meeting with you?

A few might be. Out of every hundred legitimate visitors to your website, one or two might click that “book a meeting” or “request a quote” button. Depending on how you’re attracting them, a couple of others might click a “subscribe to blog” button.

But what about all the rest?

Start With the Curious

When people visit your site for the first time, they are most likely curious, and they’re starting to form some ideas about a problem, challenge, or opportunity they need to address. They’re not ready to book a meeting because they are not at that stage yet in their buying journey. They’re researching. They’re learning. And they’re looking for resources.

Those four CTA’s I mentioned above (book a meeting, request a quote, contact us, and subscribe to blog) are all BOTTOM of the funnel calls-to-action. They’re for the people who are ready to take the LAST steps in a buying journey – NOT for the people who are just taking the first steps.

MAYBE they’ll remember you and your site when they get to the last steps – when they’re ready to make a decision and engage. Maybe. Or maybe, if they DO remember you, they’ll just be using you to validate their decision before they sign a contract with your competitor – who DID earn their trust along their journey. Yuck.

Why leave that to chance?

Make No Mistake…

As long as people can go through your website and never tell you who they are, you’ll never be in control of the conversation. You’ll be depending on them to remember you when they get to their decision stage – and they likely won’t.

And you want to have some control of the conversation when people are early in their buying journey. You want to be able to guide people toward solving their problem or addressing their opportunity by becoming your customer – and you can’t do that if you don’t know who they are.

You’ve gone through all the work of attracting them already – you know this because they’ve landed on your site. Hopefully, once they get to your site, they’ll be captivated by your excellent content. But you’re not CAPTURING them when you only have bottom-of-the-funnel CTAs. It’s just not happening. And without capturing them, you can’t be their guide. You’re missing out on the opportunity to generate quality leads – they’re slipping right through your fingers – and likely right into the ready hands of your competition.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is. Your perfect potential customers still go through a process – a journey – before they’ll ever book a meeting with you to discuss your solution.

Your biggest opportunity to make a difference with them is at the BEGINNING of their journey, not the end.

So How Do You Fix It?

You fix this by having calls-to-action that appeal to all stages of the buyers’ journey.

Start with crafting one document – one handy-dandy checklist, informative infographic, or even a short e-book. Start with one, and – this is important – address only one thing in it. One document to move your curious website visitor one inch along the way to figuring out their issue or addressing their pain – and, at some point, becoming your customer.

What could your website visitors find so incredibly valuable that they’ll trade their email address to get it? What could you create that will make a little difference for them? You want something that will appeal to them AND set you up as the expert they can trust. Not marketing fluff. Not a sales pitch. A truly valuable piece of content that will capture your visitors’ interest and get them to declare themselves (by filling in an opt-in form) as a perfect POTENTIAL customer for you.

Once you have one piece done, offer it on your website. Put it in your blog sidebar. Feature it on your home page if that will work for you. Make a landing page for it and offer it on social media. Attract your perfect potential customers – and take control of the conversation.

Because yes, once they’ve opted in for something, you are now in the enviable position of being able to follow-up with them about THAT THING. Note the emphasis there. Keep in mind that a single opt-in for a valuable download does not make a sales-ready lead. They’re still figuring out their issue and are likely not ready to engage in a sales conversation at this point. So you use the thing they opted-in for as your excuse to follow-up.

Now you can be their guide. You can tell them about blog posts that support the document they chose to receive. You can offer them additional documents for download. You can inch them along their way, helping them figure it out – and building trust in the process. It’s not time for a sales pitch. The reality is that, by building trust in this way, you are selling without selling – and it works. (Here’s a blog post I wrote earlier on that very topic: Sell Without Selling – Earn the Sale.)

Get Content-Specific

As you continue to build new documents for people to download (start with one, but don’t stop there), you’ll be able to offer specific calls-to-action on pages and posts where they are most relevant. There’s a lot of power in that.

Think to yourself – if someone is reading THIS blog post, what MORE might they like to have? What could I offer that will entice a visitor to opt-in and join my list? Content-specific CTAs (CTAs that are highly relevant to the post or page they’re on) allow you to start guiding from the start.

For example, this post right here – all about calls-to-action on your website. I think you might enjoy downloading 3 Keys to Great Websites that Convert, so that’s the CTA on this page. If you have a blog post about exercise, you might offer a download like 3 Quick Exercises to Empower Your Day, as an example. Or if you have a blog post about organizational leadership, you could offer a download about 3 Leadership Habits to Adopt Right Now.

As you create more downloads to offer, you can get increasingly specific about where you offer them.

And the best part? Because someone opted-in to download a document from you, you immediately know that they have some interest in that topic. More opportunity for you to deepen the conversation.

Make CTAs Part of Every Strategy

A good CTA strategy is a crucial part of your website strategy. It’s a crucial part of your content strategy. And it’s a crucial part of your lead generation strategy. All of these strategies weave together. Bring people to your website by being find-able, or by leveraging social media or a paid ad strategy. Once they come to your website, your content must captivate them, and your calls-to-action will capture them.

Then you can guide them. Then you can start the trust-building process. Then you can be a resource they can count on. And, when they’re ready, they’ll reply to one of your emails and say “Let’s talk”  – or they’ll finally push that button on your website to “schedule a meeting.”